The status of mental health and the treatment of mental illness is evolving in Uganda. Mental Health is now recognized as a serious public health and development issue. In 1996, the Ugandan Mental Health Program was introduced and in 1999, mental health care was added to the Minimum Health Care Package (Kigozi et al., 2010). Despite these commitments to improving mental health care, there remain limitations. For example, the Mental Health Act, which states the rights of those living with mental illness, has not been updated since 1964. Additionally, 81% of the population living in rural environments lack of access to mental health service. Finally, there is a huge dearth of trained mental health care providers and a lack of funding for any mental health treatment.
Current treatment for mental illnesses revolve around the combination of therapy with a trained mental health professional and pharmacotherapeutics. Key psychiatric medications include antidepressants, anxiolytics, and antipsychotics and a more comprehensive list can be found in the WHO’s essential medication list. Diagnosis of mental illnesses relies on the ability of physicians and other health ...
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...from housing discrimination (WHO, 2006). Investing in these programs that provide legislative and financial support for people with mental disorders will help reduce the burden of mental illness. Another area that lacks significant development are facilities for alcohol and substance abuse. Uganda has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol worldwide and as substance abuse among Ugandans increasingly becomes problem, there needs to be government funding for treatment and recovery centers (EEAPA, 2013). Finally, there needs to be a focus on developing a more humane and inclusive mental health policy and an updated strategic plan to address current gaps in mental health care. Mental health must be treated like a chronic disease and integrated into the basic health care system in order to reach more patients and improve the quality of life of all Ugandan citizens.
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